Supporting workers transition from high to low-carbon careers17 Jun 2022
Over 2021/22, SSE undertook wide-ranging stakeholder engagement on its just transition approach. This included meeting and consulting with policy makers, trade union partners, suppliers, oil and gas companies, investors, academics, and industry and skills bodies. Most importantly though, SSE sought insights from its own employees.
Using SSE’s 2021 Great Place to Work survey, the company established that more than 1 in 5 of all employees had previously worked in high-carbon roles, rising to as high as a third of all employees in certain parts of the business such as SSE Renewables. To understand the drivers of change, and what SSE could do better to further attract and retain people from high-carbon industries, the Company undertook qualitative research with employees that had previously worked in high-carbon roles. Over 150 of these employees answered a detailed just transition survey, providing SSE with rich information about their experiences and offering feedback for the company.
These findings, and the wider engagement with other stakeholders, were used to inform SSE’s second report on the just transition which was published in September 2021. This report, ‘From Principles to Action’, looks specifically at how best to support workers make the move from high to low-carbon careers. It outlines 20 commitments for SSE as well as 10 recommendations for industry and 10 recommendations for Government.
It also includes 137 individual pieces of advice from SSE employees that have made the transition, verbatim and uncensored.
At an industry and government level, these recommendations include developing ‘all energy’ frameworks for skills, fair work terms where there is public sector support for climate action, and making sure net zero sector plans embed the concept of a just transition. For SSE, commitments include things like not asking for industry-specific experience unless it is genuinely required, piloting an engineering conversion programme, and paying for workers to develop the skills they need.
SSE has continued to work with its employees on its just transition approach. Beginning in March 2022, a programme of just transition employee focus groups commenced to gather deeper insights on the opportunities and challenges from a worker perspective. This included an employee focus group session in March 2022 held jointly with one of SSE’s recognised trade union partners, Prospect. SSE has also created a new page on its careers website specifically designed for those interested in joining the company from high-carbon sectors.